Scholars of the British experience in Latin America have given considerable attention to the adventures of the two Scottish merchants John Parish Robertson and his brother William, who visited Paraguay between 1811 and 1814. The image of the taciturn Dictator José Gaspar de Francia attempting to use the two British subjects to establish commercial links with Europe has appeared in virtually all histories of the period. Francia's failure in this regard, we are frequently told, ushered in a period of self-imposed isolation for Paraguay. Few foreigners, merchants or otherwise, were permitted to breech the barriers set up by the Dictator and Paraguay quickly took on the reputation of an “inland Japan.” That these barriers were not as absolute as the traditional portrayal would suggest has been established only in the last fifteen years. With few exceptions, the historical accounts have assumed that, with the departure of the Robertsons, British merchants lost all interest in Paraguay. In fact, however, a strong desire to “open” the trade of that country characterized the British mercantile community of Buenos Aires throughout the life of the Dictator and, on one occasion at the very end of Dr. Francia's reign, a concerted effort was made by certain Britons to reintroduce British commerce to Paraguay.